SOCIETY COUNCIL I
Palm Beach, FL
June 21-22, 1997
meeting was called to order at 1:10 PM EDT. In attendance were Jose
Cordero, Phil Mirkes, Tony Scialli, Kathy Sulik, Elaine Francis,
Barbara Hales, Bill Slikker, Carol Lemire (ex officio), Tom Sadler
(ex officio) and George Daston. Dr. Cordero presided.
of the Editor Search Committee: Dr. Robert Harrington, representing
Wiley-Liss, and Mr. Jim Schardein, chair of the Editor Search Committee,
were present at the start of the meeting at the invitation of Council.
Mr. Schardein gave a brief report on the work of the search committee.
It consisted of the Publications Committee, Godfrey Oakley and Bern
Schwetz. Mr. Schardein reported that there had been six nominees
for the position and the committee interviewed the top four by telephone.
The four had been ranked by the committee and the committee recommended
that Lew Holmes be approved by Council. Mr. Schardein indicated
that Dr. Holmes had specific financial requirements from the publisher
before he would accept the position.
of Council asked for details on the search committee's process and
the factors that led them to choose Dr. Holmes. Mr. Schardein indicated
that the committee had found Dr. Holmes' responses to its questions
during the interview to be the most satisfactory. Mr. Schardein
read the list of questions that were posed to each candidate. They
inquired about the candidate's views on the scope of the journal,
name of the journal, representation of Teratology Society membership's
interests in the journal, as well as details on the operational
aspects of running the editorial office and interacting with the
publisher. Mr. Schardein indicated that Dr. Holmes believes the
journal should reflect the diversity of the Society's membership.
He also intends to solicit manuscripts from genetics and clinical
societies to improve the representation of these disciplines in
the journal. He intends to target abstracts from meetings of these
groups as sources of manuscripts for Teratology. Mr. Schardein also
stated that Dr. Holmes' breadth, particularly his clinical experience,
counted in his favor.
Sulik and Dr. Mirkes asked Mr. Schardein for the ranking of the
remaining three candidates. Mr. Schardein replied that the committee
interpreted its charge as being to select the top candidate only
and that Dr. Holmes had stood out. After considerable discussion
Council asked for the name of the second ranked candidate, which
Mr. Schardein shared.
Daston moved that Mr. Schardein's report be accepted. The motion
Harrington expressed his interest in learning Council's goals for
the journal. It was agreed that Council would select a smaller group
to meet with him later to discuss this. He also expressed his concerns
about increasing the publisher's subsidy of the editorial office
without a commensurate increase in manuscript flow.
Kavlock joined the meeting at 2:05 PM.
Holmes was invited into the meeting at this point to answer Council's
questions about his plans for the journal. Dr. Mirkes asked him
what he would use the requested increase in the editorial budget
for. Dr. Holmes replied that he had made inquiries of editors of
several successful journals, and all had a part-time administrative
assistant. There would also be a discretionary fund to be used to
reward Section Editors for bringing in papers. Finally, some of
the money would be to compensate Dr. Holmes, as he is entirely on
soft money and will set aside one full day a week to handle the
Holmes addressed a number of questions about his vision for the
journal. He stated that he would like the journal to represent all
sectors of the Teratology Society. He indicated that we needed to
reach outside the Society to supplement manuscript flow. He felt
that the journal needed top-notch reviewers, whether from the Society
or not. In order to be successful in attracting outside researchers
to the journal it would be necessary to offer an individual subscription
rate, something that the publisher does not now do. Regarding the
name of the journal, he felt that it should remain Teratology for
now, but with a subtitle indicating that it was a journal on abnormal
development. Dr. Holmes indicated a willingness to publish relevant
symposium proceedings in the journal and abstracts from other groups,
such as the limb development conference.
Holmes was excused at 2:55 PM.
Harrington expressed his opinion as the publisher's representative.
He was impressed with Dr. Holmes' philosophy for the journal, and
would speak with his superiors about the budgetary requests. He
asked for a meeting with Council after he had a chance to speak
with them. Council appointed Phil Mirkes, Bob Kavlock, George Daston,
and Jim Schardein (as a representative of the search committee)
to meet with Dr. Harrington and Wiley-Liss.
Sulik moved that we interview the search committee's second candidate
before choosing an editor. The motion carried.
Harrington and Mr. Schardein were excused at 3:15 PM.
Slippage: Mr. Fred Edson, National Sales Manager for The Breakers,
was invited to join the meeting. Dr. Cordero explained that, as
expected, the Society had not met its room occupancy obligations.
Mr. Edson stated that the original contract had specified that we
would occupy 2920 room-nights. This had been reduced by the maximum
extent allowed in the contract, to 2466. Our room occupancy was
only 2027 room-nights. The penalty for the slippage is approximately
$53,000, which the hotel will forgive in full given our agreement
to return in the year 2000. Mr. Edson noted that the hotel would
offer comparable prices and amenities for the 2000 meeting; we were
free to decrease our room occupancy obligation; we could forego
any and all food and beverage functions; and we could decrease the
length of the meeting. He stated that The Breakers was interested
in encouraging repeat business from the Society.
Edson was excused at 4:05 PM.
was considerable discussion about how to present this situation
to the membership. Dr. Cordero stated that he would fully explain
the problem at the annual meeting, and would ask Mr. Edson to speak
to the membership.
Planning Committee: Dr. Mirkes briefly reviewed the report from
the Strategic Planning Committee's meeting in Cincinnati, which
had been provided previously to Council. He went over a number of
reports that had been generated by subgroups working subsequent
to the Cincinnati meeting.
draft mission statement was discussed by Council. Suggested changes
were given to Dr. Daston. He agreed to redraft the statement for
presentation at the Strategic Planning Committee's meeting on June
22 and at the open forum on June 24.
to consider the Society's name recommended that it be changed to
The Birth Defects Research Society. Council agreed that the membership
should be asked for input at the open forum and then would be polled
on this change by way of suggested amendments to the constitution.
to deal with the Society's financial issues recommended that: 1)
a management firm or executive director be hired to deal with the
business aspects of the Society; 2) the annual meeting should be
revamped to attract more participants; 3) partnerships with other
societies that share aspects of our mission should be explored;
4) the journal should become a source of revenue; 5) the membership
roll should be increased and diversified; 6) the donor base should
be expanded; and 7) the marketing of educational materials should
be explored. Dr. Kavlock suggested that this work group be charged
with developing specific action items.
Mirkes then asked for advice on structuring the open forum. It was
decided that he would present the main points of the strategic plan
(as above), then open the meeting for questions and discussion.
Advisory Committee: Dr. Daston summarized the written report
submitted by Ron Jensh, the chair of this ad hoc fund-raising committee.
Dr. Jensh had developed a list of CEOs at companies that were likely
to have an interest in teratology. His committee recommends that
the names on the list be contacted for substantial contributions
to support the Society. He had also designed a logo that could be
displayed in the headquarters of these sponsors.
Scialli suggested that we may be more successful if we solicit money
for a specific purpose. He suggested a post-doctoral fellowship
or to support continuing education conferences for physicians. Dr.
Cordero suggested support for visiting faculty. Dr. Hales suggested
the dissemination of pamphlets on teratology to medical students.
Cordero remanded this issue to Dr. Mirkes to consolidate and align
the recommendations of this committee with that of the Strategic
was called at 5:40 PM. The meeting was reconvened at 8:10 AM, June
Report: Dr. Cordero presented a written report of his activities.
There were several topics that he brought up for discussion with
first was a discussion on attracting to our meeting more groups
that have a complementary mission; OTIS is a good example. Dr. Cordero
has met with the Council for OTIS and invited them to hold their
meetings with ours on an annual basis, as NBTS does. They have agreed
to consider this on a year-by-year basis. The OTIS Council requested
that we send a liaison from our Council to their meetings, and vice
versa. The support for this request was strong. Dr. Scialli volunteered
to serve as our liaison. Dr. Kavlock suggested that we have a similar
liaison with the NBTS Council. Dr. Slikker volunteered to serve.
Dr. Cordero stated that the goals of holding joint meetings with
other societies should be to facilitate scientific exchange. This
may also increase membership in the Teratology Society by attracting
members of the affiliate societies who are impressed with the content
of our meeting.
Cordero reported that he had appointed a Warkany Lecturer Selection
Committee, chaired by Dr. Holmes. This committee's task is to advise
the President on potential candidates for the lectureship, with
the President making the decision. Dr. Cordero recommended that
the incoming President should appoint the chair of this committee,
who would then appoint the remainder of the committee.
Cordero reported on his activities in expanding the Society's reach
to Latin America. Teratologists there have attached themselves to
local genetics societies because there is no teratology society.
Dr. Cordero has invited them to join our Society. He expressed the
opinion that we consider offering gratis memberships for some of
these individuals. Dr. Hales suggested that we seek financial support
for these gratis memberships by adding a line on the dues forms,
and in our corporate solicitations. She also suggested that we extend
our outreach to all developing nations. Dr. Slikker suggested that
we solicit donations from South American pesticide manufacturers
to cover the cost of Latin American memberships. He offered to provide
Cordero next brought up the subject of associate membership in FASEB,
which had been tabled at the interim Council meeting. Dr. Francis
reported that she had attended the consensus conference on graduate
education that we had been invited to attend. She felt that there
was the opportunity for active participation, but was unable to
determine how much influence we would be able to exert. After considerable
discussion, there was support from Council. Dr. Scialli moved that
the issue to be presented to the membership for a vote. The motion
carried. Dr. Slikker expressed the opinion that it might take several
years before we were able to make an impact.
Cordero informed Council that he had asked Dr. Ferencz to give a
eulogy for Tomas Pexieder at the business meeting. Dr. Mirkes suggested
that obituaries be published in Teratology.
Committee: Dr. Mirkes referred Council to his written report.
He stressed that the number of abstracts submitted had decreased
again. Dr. Scialli suggested that because of the smaller volume
of abstracts it may be possible to forego concurrent sessions in
the future. He also suggested that we solicit abstracts from scientists
not in the Society, possibly by offering submitters a year's free
membership. This was tabled for discussion at a later time. Dr.
Mirkes was thanked by Council for putting together an excellent
Secretary's Report: Ms. Lemire referred Council to her written
report, which included data on membership and number of early registrants
for the meeting. Dr. Cordero recommended that the registration fee
for non-members be made equivalent to the member registration fee
plus annual dues, as an inducement for non-members to consider joining
the Society. Council asked that a membership application be included
with the meeting registration material, and that all student travel
awardees be sent membership applications. Council will ask the Membership
Committee and Student Affairs Committee to attend to this. The Membership
Committee will also be asked to contact retired members who have
resigned to offer them emeritus status. Lastly, Council volunteered
to contact members who have not paid their 1997 dues.
Friedman joined the meeting at 10:00 AM.
Report: Dr. Francis referred Council to her written report,
which would also be presented at the business meeting. She indicated
that the annual meetings continue to make money. The net income
from the 1996 meeting was $43,000. There were three special items
on this year's budget: liability insurance, establishment of a web
page, and expenses associated with development of the strategic
plan. The suggestion was made that the annual financial report appear
in an issue of the newsletter.
Francis requested that we institute a policy regarding the meeting
and course registration fees, to ensure that they cover costs of
food, beverage, materials, staff, and other expenses, and that the
Treasurer be explicitly involved in setting these fees. Dr. Daston
moved that we set as a goal for 2001 to decrease food and beverage
costs to no more than 30% of the registration fee. This was amended
to read that we would charge the Finance Committee with pursuing
the feasibility of such a goal. The amended motion carried. Dr.
Daston moved that the Treasurer be consulted in setting meeting
and course registration fees. The motion carried.
Selection Issues: Consideration of sites for the 2001 and 2002
meetings will be postponed until the subgroup of the Strategic Planning
Committee dealing with annual meetings finishes its report.
Service: Dr. Hoberman had submitted a report with a number of
recommendations for publishing ads in the newsletter or electronically.
These recommendations will be taken up by the newsletter editor.
He also recommended that we charge for printing ads. This recommendation
will be considered by the Finance Committee.
Management: Ms. Lemire was excused for this discussion. Dr.
Daston reported that he and Dr. Francis had visited ADG and Drohan
Management Company and had been favorably impressed by their staff
and capabilities. Dr. Daston had also solicited proposals for management
from FASEB and from our current staff, as had been agreed at the
interim Council meeting. Dr. Daston circulated a comparison of estimated
costs for these four options. The costs were comparable for all
four. A discussion ensued about the relative merits of the four
options. It was felt that having access to an executive director
and a full-time meeting planner were critical to the Society's well-being.
Dr. Daston was asked for his recommendation. He felt that all of
the options were good, but that ADG was most closely aligned with
the needs and goals of the Society, and he and several others in
the Society had worked with ADG through the Society of Toxicology
and had a great deal of trust in the staff. It was moved that we
pursue a contract with ADG, to commence in January 1998. The motion
Committee: Tom Sadler, Dick Skalko, Chip Vorhees and Ms. Lemire
joined the meeting at 11:30 AM. Dr. Sadler gave a report on the
state of the journal. Fifty-five manuscripts had been submitted
so far in 1997. The journal was still behind in its publication
schedule because there were too few manuscripts and because of production
delays at the publisher. The latter problem was being remedied.
The journal had regained ground in impact factor among developmental
biology journals from its drop in 1996. The Publications Committee
indicated that it was dissatisfied in its interactions with the
publisher, and felt that the publisher was not supporting the journal
or the Society to the extent it should. The suggestion was made
that we explore alternative possibilities in publication. It was
agreed that Drs. Sadler, Mirkes and Daston would look into alternatives.
Skalko reported that his committee had chosen reproductive system
development as the topic for the Wiley-Liss symposium for 1998.
The Midwest Teratology Association has already developed a session
on this subject, which was well received at its most recent meeting
and will be repeated (with modifications and updates) as the 1998
Wiley-Liss symposium. Dr. Daston volunteered to serve as a liaison
to the MTA group that will present the symposium. Dr. Skalko reminded
Council that his term on the Publication Committee was ending, and
that Dr. Vorhees would be the new chair. He recommended that Jim
Schardein, Jan Friedman or Rick Finnell be appointed to the Publications
Affairs Committee: Dr. Friedman reported that the Society's
position paper on vitamin A was being updated by a working group
headed by Ed Lammer. Joe Lary was working on a consensus statement
on endocrine disrupters, but was finding it difficult to achieve
consensus. The Committee has decided to take no action on a thalidomide
position paper until the CDC's position statement is published in
the Fall. At that point the Committee will decide whether to endorse
the CDC paper or prepare its own. Bob Brent has volunteered to represent
the Society at the FDA hearing on pregnancy warnings.
Public Affairs Committee drafted press releases for the annual meeting.
The success of these was limited. Ken Jones will arrange for press
coverage in San Diego in 1998.
Public Affairs symposium proposed for 1998 would be on accumulating
data on pregnancy outcomes in women taking approved drugs.
Business: Dr. Cordero announced that Nancy Mutch, an exhibitor
for Hamilton-Thorne, had expressed interest in sponsoring a student
Sadler recommended that the Constitution and By-Laws Committee be
asked to determine the adequacy of the language pertaining to editor
searches, spouse memberships, and concurrent service on Council
and Publication Committee.
meeting was adjourned at 1:25 PM.
Search: An extraordinary session of Council I was convened on
the morning of June 23 to interview the second candidate for Editor-in-Chief
of Teratology. Dr. Cordero was the only voting member of Council
not present, due to an obligation in a concurrent scientific session.
Dr. Harrington of Wiley-Liss was present. The candidate gave an
impressive interview. Dr. Harrington indicated that he found both
candidates acceptable, after which he left the meeting. Members
of Council discussed the relative merits of both candidates and
found them both to be extremely capable and well qualified for the
position. Council agreed that Dr. Cordero should be given the opportunity
to interview the second candidate. A non-binding poll of the members
present was taken to give Dr. Cordero a sense of Council's sentiment.
extraordinary meeting of Council I was held on June 26 to make a
decision on Editor-in-Chief. In attendance were Jose Cordero, Phil
Mirkes, Tony Scialli, Kathy Sulik, Elaine Francis, Barbara Hales,
Bill Slikker, Bob Kavlock (by telephone), Jan Friedman (ex officio),
Tom Sadler (ex officio), Carol Lemire (ex officio), Bob Seegmiller
(ex officio), and George Daston. Dr. Cordero presided.
Mirkes reported that he, Dr. Kavlock, Mr. Schardein and Dr. Daston
had met with the representatives for Wiley-Liss regarding support
for the editorial office and the journal, as directed by Council.
Dr. Harrington and Dr. Joe Ingram represented the publisher at the
meeting. The publisher's representatives indicated that they would
consider our requests. The publisher subsequently responded in writing
to Dr. Cordero that it would agree to increase the financial support
to the editorial office and would work with the new editor to establish
a suitable policy on gratis color plates and individual subscription
Cordero stated that he had interviewed the second candidate for
the editorship. He opened the meeting for discussion of the two
candidates. There was unanimous sentiment that both candidates were
exceptionally qualified and would do an outstanding job. After considerable
discussion, a written ballot was conducted, with the understanding
that if the first candidate declined the position for any reason
that it would be offered to the second. Dr. Holmes received a majority
of the votes.
George P. Daston
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